You are likely on this page because a real estate agent or REALTOR® has asked you for a mortgage prequalification or mortgage pre-approval letter. This letter is submitted with your Real Estate Purchase Contract to show home sellers that you've spoken to a mortgage professional, discussed loan budgeting, mortgage program options, have submitted documentation and have undergone a preliminary review.
What is the Process of a Home Loan?
If this is the first page you've seen on this website, I highly recommend visiting the 10-Step Mortgage Process page and the Mortgage Application Checklist page. These will give you a good idea of what's needed to begin a home loan with me, Scott Buehler, as your Loan Officer.
On this page of the Complete Home Buying Guide, you will learn the differences between a prequalification letter vs a pre-approval letter as defined in my home loan lending practices.
It is very important to understand that some lenders and Loan Officers may have different definitions of these terms. Some may even use these terms interchangeably to mean the same thing. Every lender handles mortgage prequalification and pre-approval letters differently, therefore, this guide is to help you understand my process and procedures when you work with me as your Loan Officer.
At Guild Mortgage, the difference between a prequalification letter vs pre-approval letter is significant. Let's dive in!
The Prequalification Letter
What is a prequalification letter? This is a document issued by Scott Buehler or your chosen home loan lender that states you have been prequalified and is tentatively willing to lend to you, up to a certain amount.
In order to get issued a prequalification letter from Scott, you will need to provide the following:
- A call, email or text conversation to discuss your home loan goals.
- A loan application.
- Credit report pull and review.
- Full income documentation - See my mortgage checklist.
- Scott Buehler's complete loan application review.
- Response to my email or call that asks questions and/or requests clarification.
- Automated underwriting submission for acceptance.
Once an estimated loan maximum is determined, you can then request a prequalification letter which will show your estimated maximum loan amount and loan ID number. This letter was also include my contact information, my signature and various conditions required.
The majority of my home purchase loans will be issued a prequalification letter.
I am unable to issue a prequalification letter without the above criteria being met.
Ready to get started? Please consider taking my 60-second questionnaire. From there, let's have a quick 15-minute call to discuss your loan specifics. If you'd rather apply now, head on over to my mortgage application walkthrough to get started.
The Pre-Approval Letter
What is a Pre-Approval Letter? This is a document issued from Scott Buehler or your chosen home loan lender that states you have been through the prequalification process, have undergone income verification and have been conditionally approved by an underwriter.
The pre-approval process will likely take significantly longer to complete before we can issue an office pre-approval letter. We will need:
- Everything from the prequalification requirements above.
- Borrower's Certification and Authorization signature.
- Loan prepared by processing for underwriting submission.
- Full income verification including Verification of Employment, paystubs, W-2's, tax returns (if required) and other asset documentation.
- Underwriting review submission.
- Underwriting review - 1-4 business days from submission (depends on workload)
- Underwriting conditional approval.
With underwriting conditional approval, you will then be issued a pre-approval letter from my underwriting department.
Do I Need a Prequalification or Pre-Approval Letter?
For most home loans, a prequalification letter is the better option. Where a pre-approval could take a week or more to complete, I am often able to complete everything needed to issue a pre-qualification letter within hours of loan submission.
A prequalification by Guild Mortgage and Scott Buehler as your Loan Officer means you've been credit reviewed, your loan was submitted to our automated underwriting system for acceptance, discussions have occurred about loan options, goals and so much more.
A pre-approval has its advantages! Depending on your borrower profile, I may determine that a prequalification is not enough based on a number of factors including adverse credit instances that need further analysis and decision-making. There are other times when we may need further assurances, such as purchasing a home from family and doing repairs before completing the home loan.
Urgency required? There are instances where someone finds a property and then discovers that an offer must be submitted within a days or even hours. Please call me, 435.590.1019 and check my prequalification availability. I will make every accommodation possible including helping you on Saturdays when I'm available.
If this sounds like your situation, please be sure to have your income documentation prepared from my mortgage application checklist. You may submit these documents immediately after submitting your loan application.
When Do I Get Started?
If you are planning to buy a home within the next 12 months, it's a great idea to get started on your prequalification process!
If you are planning to buy 6 months to a year down the road, you will be able to talk to me about your planning and get advice that will help you towards that goal of homeownership.
Applying early allows me to find problem areas that we need to address. These may include adverse credit issues, funds for down payment or closing costs, self-employment income issues, other income issues such as qualifying variable income and so much more.
Congrats on preparing early! I'm so excited that you are pre-planning for your future home purchase! When you plan ahead, you can prepare ahead of time to understand the mortgage process and what it takes to get a loan.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask. There's no "dumb questions" and I'm here to share my knowledge with you. Take my 60-second questionnaire to begin!